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Office of Central Facilities and Public Safety

Hazard Communication

This document is compliant with the new 2012 Hazard Communication Rule.


The purpose of this written program is to advise and provide guidance on the employer/employee requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).   This standard is enforced by the state of Maryland through the Access to Information About Hazardous and Toxic Substances Act. The requirements of the Act are to:

  • Provide information on workplace chemical hazards;
  • Compile a hazardous chemical list and make it readily available;
  • Use Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for safety information; formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • Use and maintain container labels; and
  • Provide training.

Scope and Application

This program applies to all work operations in a department where personnel may be exposed to hazardous substances under normal working conditions or during an emergency situation. Copies of the program and regulation may be obtained from the Environmental Safety Office (MC-ES), CT Building 9221 Corporate Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850; telephone, (240)567-4308. A copy of this program must be available in each department.

Under this program, employees will be informed of the contents of the Hazard Communication Standard, the hazardous properties of chemicals with which they work, safe handling procedures, and measures to take for protecting themselves and others from these chemicals. Employees will also be informed of the hazards associated with non-routine tasks.

Program Description

The Hazard Communication program includes the following elements:

Safe Work Procedures

Each department will keep written procedures for safe handling of chemicals. These procedures must be written for all hazardous chemicals in use.

Here is a sample procedure for a corrosive and very strong acid:

"Sulfuric acid is a corrosive chemical, which can burn the skin and eyes. The SDS must be read before using this chemical. Always add acid to water with much stirring when diluting. You must wear chemical splash goggles, rubber gloves and chemical resistant clothing when using this chemical. This chemical must only be used in a location equipped with a safety shower and eyewash."

List of Hazardous Chemicals

The department supervisor is responsible for making and maintaining a list of all hazardous chemicals and related work practices used in the facility. This chemical inventory list must identify all of the chemicals used in the department, the corresponding SDS for each chemical, and the work area(s) in which each is located. The inventory list must be updated as necessary, so that it accurately reflects the chemicals in use in the department.

Each department will submit a copy of the chemical inventory list to the ES office. The ES Office will compile a master list of all chemicals in use at the College. Copies of the master list will be available upon request. In addition, a campus list of all hazardous materials is kept on file at each Safety & Security Office for access by emergency response personnel.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) provide specific information on the chemical you are using.  Occupational safety regulations and local emergency planning laws require that departmental supervisors regularly update chemical inventories and SDSs.  A SDS must be available to you before you work with any material that can impair your health.

SDSs must be available to all students and employees who work in the area at all shifts;  this includes building services  and security staff.  Paper copies of SDSs must be kept in an accessible and clearly visible location by the department who uses the chemical or chemical product.  The Environmental Safety office maintains campus-wide chemical inventories and Safety Data Sheets in a central database.

The online chemical inventory database is accessible through this link. You must use your MyMC username and password to access the database.

Your supervisor is responsible for acquiring and updating SDSs. He or she will contact the MC-ES Office if a SDS is not obtainable.  The department supervisor must approve all purchases of new chemicals for the department and then insure that pertinent safety information is supplied and understood before a hazardous material is used.  If you purchase hazardous materials for your department, you must obtain the associated SDS for the substance and submit it to your supervisor before using the material. (A copy of the SDS must also be sent to the Environmental Safety Office for archiving in the College's Hazardous Materials database.)

Labels and Other Forms of Warning

The department supervisor will ensure that all hazardous chemicals in the department are properly labeled. Labels must list the chemical identity, appropriate hazard warnings, and the name and address of the manufacturer or vendor.  Manufacturers and vendors are legally responsible for label and SDS information.  Your supervisor will refer to the corresponding SDS to assist you in better understanding label information.   The MC-ES office will also assist you or your supervisor when requested.

If you transfer chemicals from a labeled container to a portable container that is intended only for your immediate use, no labels are required on the portable container. Storage of a chemical requires a container label with product name, hazardous components and all warnings.

Non-Routine Tasks

When you are required to perform a hazardous non-routine task, special training will be conducted to inform you of the hazardous chemicals to which you might be exposed. Your supervisor will explain the proper precautions you must use to reduce or avoid exposure.


Everyone who works with, or is potentially exposed to, hazardous chemicals must receive initial training on the "Hazard Communication Standard" and the safe use of hazardous materials. Whenever a new hazard is introduced, additional training must be provided. Supervisors must supply training to their subordinates regarding specific hazards and the appropriate protective measures. They must be able to answer any questions from employees and they will provide regular monitoring to insure safe work practices.

Training will emphasize these items:

  • Summary of the Standard and this written program;
  • Chemical and physical properties of hazardous materials and methods that can be used to detect the presence or release of chemicals;
  • Physical hazards of chemicals (e.g., potential for fire, explosion, etc.);
  • Health hazards, including signs and symptoms of illness associated with exposure to chemicals;
  • Medical condition(s) aggravated by exposure to the chemical;
  • Hazard reduction or elimination methods;
  • Emergency procedures;
  • Location of SDSs and how to interpret the information;
  • Label information; and
  • Sources of additional information.

All related training will be documented with employee name, MC ID number and date.   Documentation must be kept on file in the MC-ES office for review by regulatory authorities.  If requested by the supervisor or employees, the MC-ES office will obtain and coordinate training sessions.

Take the Online Training

Log in to MyMC to access the Online Hazard Communication Training and follow the instructions listed on the link below.


For More Information

Additional information on this written program, the Hazard Communication Standard, Material Safety Data Sheets, or chemical inventory lists may be obtained from MC-ES. Please e-mail requests to the ES Office or telephone (240) 567-4308. For more information on securing and processing SDSs, see Services - SDS.

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